Arkansas looks for alternatives to fund I-49 project

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Arkansas Department of Transportation is exploring funding alternatives for the construction and operation of a section of Interstate 49 after a study found that using tolls wouldn't raise the needed revenue.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that the department considered using toll revenue to build, maintain and operate a nearly 14-mile (23-kilometer) section of Interstate 49 from Interstate 40 in Crawford County to Arkansas 22 in Sebastian County. The project also involves a new bridge over the Arkansas River.

The new route is designed to improve transportation in western Arkansas by providing another river crossing.

Construction for the project as a four-lane route is estimated to cost about $776 million.

A study by infrastructure consultants HNTB Corp. found that tolls wouldn't raise close to that amount.

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Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com